Last Saturday the S.S. John Young Cygnus had an Antares launch. The liftoff took place at 04:01:22 EST (0901:22 UTC), on 17 November. On Monday the rocket reached the International Space Station. The launch has a two-day delay, but it appears that this hasn’t affected the success of the mission.
Pegasus and Antares
Pegasus was supposed to be the first one to have an orbital launch, but the mission launch date had to be delayed, and Antares was the first one launched instead. Kurt Eberly, Antares Deputy Program Manager for Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, had a couple of words to share about the Pegasus and Antares projects:
“There’s no sibling impact from Pegasus on this Antares launch because we don’t fly that same actuator controller unit,” “Pegasus does fly a lot of common avionics with our other vehicles, and we have a number of other programs that are flying the same avionics. But the particular box in question is an actuator controller unit for Pegasus that controls the fin actuators,” explained Mr. Eberly.
“There are three fin actuators on Pegasus. And there’s a control unit that’s an electro-mechanical control box. We do not fly that on Antares, and I’m sure that Cygnus does not either. There are other common avionics, flight computer, navigator, battery; there are lots of commonalities and that’s, I think, one of our strengths in the launch vehicles division – that we’re able to produce this common hardware,” added Eberly.
It appears that there is no reason to worry that the Antares project will be affected by the Pegasus’s corrections. Other technical details were also shared by Kurt Eberly, and he also assured us that they are constantly improving their products and that they have plenty of flight experience.